Actions and Detail Panel
Making China Heard: meet the translators of China’s best-known writers
Thu 6 April 2017, 19:30 – 21:00 BST
The world is welcoming an increasing presence of Chinese writers. Over the years we have seen the Nobel laureate Mo Yan grab headlines, the Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin attract sci-fi fans all over Europe, the films adapted from Yan Geling’s novels hit international silver screens, and Cao Wenxuan become the first Chinese author granted the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s writing...
However, it is often easy to forget that most Chinese authors wouldn’t have had their voices broadcast so far out without the hard work of their translators. At this event we will invite two very prolific translators, Helen Wang and Nicky Harman, both of whom have brought some of China’s best contemporary works to the English world, to share with us their insights through a panel discussion on:
The linguistic barrier and beauty when switching from a language to another
The challenges of delivering diverse Chinese voices despite the country's rigid mainstream ideology
How Chinese authors produce their works and how translators reproduce them for a different readership
At the event we will display a wide array of books translated by Nicky and Helen:
The Flowers of War by Yan Geling, translated by Nicky Harman: a story that was brought to the silver screen by China’s leading film director Zhang Yimou
Bronze and Sun Flower by Cao Wenxuan, together with other Cao Wenxuan’s children book collections, translated by Helen Wang: a winner of the 2017 Marsh Award for Literature in Translation
The Road to Others by Anni Baobei, translated by Nicky Harman: a decade-long best seller in China, exploring loneliness and isolation of life in China’s metropolis
The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver by Chen Guanzhong, translated by Nicky Harman: the dream chasing and awakening of a Tibetan youngster in a Han-dominant China
Paper Tiger: Inside the Real China by Xu Zhiyuan, translated by Nicky Harman: A unique insider’s view of China that is measured and brave, ambitious in scope and deeply personal
The Book of Sins by Chen Xiwo, translated by Nicky Harman: revelation of both physical and psychic pains that pierce through the numbness of one’s day-to-day life
A Phone Call from Dalian: Selected Poems of Han Dong by Han Dong, translated by Nicky Harman: poem collections from one of China’s avant-garde poetry movement leaders
The panel discussion will be followed by a booking signing session.
Helen Wang is a London-based contributor to Paper Republic and co-tweets with translator Nicky Harman on @cfbcuk (China Fiction Book Club UK). She is one of the four editors of Read Paper Republic - working with Nicky Harman, Dave Haysom and Eric Abrahamsen. In September 2016, she started a new project Chinese Books for Young Readers, with Anna Gustafsson Chen and Minjie Chen. She won the 2017 Marsh Award for Literature in Translation for her translation of Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan.
Nicky Harman lives in the UK. She is co-Chair of the Translators Association (Society of Authors). She taught on the MSc in Translation at Imperial College until 2011 and now translates full-time from Chinese. She focuses on fiction, literary non-fiction, and occasionally poetry, by authors such as Chen Xiwo, Han Dong, Hong Ying, Dorothy Tse, Xinran, Yan Geling and Zhang Ling. When not translating, she spends time promoting contemporary Chinese fiction to the general English-language reader. From June 2015-June 2016, she, along with Eric Abrahamsen, Dave Haysom and Helen Wang, ran READ PAPER REPUBLIC, posting and promoting a free-to-view short story every week for a year, a project which continues to develop.